Carney duels with reporters over ObamaCare claim

Reporters at a briefing on Monday pressed White House spokesman Jay Carney over President Obama’s claim that, under the Affordable Care Act “if you like your plan, you can keep it.”

“From that podium, will you admit that when the president said 'if you have a plan you'll get to keep it,' that that was not true?” Fox News reporter Ed Henry asked Carney.

In a lengthy response, Carney argued that the administration has acknowledged “there are going to be changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act” that create “minimum standards of coverage” that every healthcare policy must comply with.

Carney said that if you’re in the small group of people whose current policy doesn’t comply, you can gain access to a superior plan through the online healthcare exchanges, where you might also qualify for federal subsidies.

“So it's true that there are existing healthcare plans on the individual market that don't meet those minimum standards and, therefore, do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act,” Carney said. 

“But what is also true is that ... Americans who have insurance on the existing individual market will now have numerous options available to them, and six out of 10 will pay less than $100 per month in premiums for better insurance,” he continued. “It's not even an apples-and-apples comparison. This is — this is qualitatively better insurance coverage than what was available, in many cases, to Americans around the country.”

Henry pressed Carney further, saying “the president said one thing, and you’re admitting that’s not going to be the case.”

“The president sold it as, you'll get — if you have a plan, you'll get to keep it, and that's not true,” Henry said.

“I appreciate what you're trying to do,” Carney responded. “Eighty-plus percent of the American people already get insurance through their employer, through Medicare or through Medicaid. They don't have to worry about or do or change anything. Those remaining individuals who do not have insurance at all now will have it available to them through — or don't have insurance at all or get it through the individual market will now have insurance available to them.”

The president’s “if you like your plan, you can keep it” remark came under renewed scrutiny on Monday, after David Axelrod seemed to acknowledge that, contrary to White House claims, not everyone will get to keep their existing healthcare plans under ObamaCare.

“Most people are going to keep their own plan, senator, and you know that,” Axelrod, a former adviser to President Obama, said on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe."

 "The majority of people in this country — the vast majority of people in this country — are keeping their plan,” he added. “People who were uninsured will have choices they never had before.”

President Obama has repeatedly insisted that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.”

 But since its implementation earlier this month, thousands of people have been notified that they’ll be losing their healthcare policies because they don’t comply with Affordable Care Act requirements.

Later in Carney’s press conference, he was asked directly how many individuals would lose their current plan because of the minimum requirements. Carney referred the question to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but reiterated that many of those losing their plans might find better, less expensive options.